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Filing Guidelines

GUIDELINES & REQUIREMENTSTO ASSIST  PRO SE DEBTORS
 
 
WARNING!    DO NOT FILE A BANKRUPTCY CASE WITHOUT A BUDGET AND CREDIT COUNSELING CERTIFICATE. 
 
 

Please read the entire document.
 
The new Bankruptcy law requires that before an individual files a bankruptcy case, the individual must:
 

  • Receive a credit counseling briefing during the 180 days before filing the case and
  • File a credit counseling certificate from the agency with the petition.

 
If you do not receive the briefing and file the certificate with the petition, your case may be dismissed.
 
If your case is dismissed:
 

  • You will lose the filing fee
  • Your creditors will be able to resume collection activities against you

 
If you later file another bankruptcy case after the dismissal:
 

  • You will have to pay a second filing fee
  • You may have to take extra steps to stop creditors collection activities, and
  • The automatic stay terminates after 30 days unless the court grants a motion for extension of the stay

 
For a list of approved Credit Counseling Agencies please click here.
 

Description and Filing Requirements For Chapter 7 "Liquidation:
 
A chapter 7 case is the liquidation or selling off of your non-exempt property for payment to your creditors from the proceeds.
 
Filing Requirements:

  • Voluntary Petition (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Statement of Social Security Numbers (Form B21)
  • Certificate of Credit Counseling
  • Exhibit D  (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Filing Fee or Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments or a Motion To Waive the Filing Fee (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Schedules A-J
  • List of Creditors (Mailing Matrix)
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Statement of Intention (Individual Debtors Only)
  • Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation
  • Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Petition Preparer (only if one was used)

 
 

Description and Filing Requirements For Chapter 13 "Wage Earner Plan":
 
A chapter 13 case provides you the opportunity to restructure your debts through a payment plan which lasts between three to five years.
 
Filing Requirements:

  • Voluntary Petition (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Statement of Social Security Numbers (Form B21)
  • Certificate of Credit Counseling
  • Exhibit D  (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Filing Fee or Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Schedules A-J
  • List of Creditors (Mailing Matrix)
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Statement of Intention (Individual Debtors Only)
  • Statement of Current Monthly Income
  • Chapter 13 Plan
  • Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Petition Preparer (only if one was used)

 
 

Description and Filing Requirements For Chapter 11 "Reorganization":
 
A chapter 11 case provides you the opportunity to reorganize or readjust debts through a plan or contract with creditors.  Creditors are allowed to vote on the plan and the plan must be approved by the Court.  Individuals and most businesses can file a petition under chapter 11. 
 
Filing Requirements:

  • Voluntary Petition (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Statement of Social Security Numbers (Form B21)
  • Certificate of Credit Counseling  (if individual)
  • Exhibit D  (this must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing) (only if individual)
  • Corporate Resolution
  • Corporate Ownership Statement
  • Filing Fee
  • Schedules A-J
  • List of Creditors (Mailing Matrix)
  • List of Creditors Holding 20 Largest Unsecured Claims (must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing)
  • Small Business:  Balance Sheet, Statement of Operations, Cash-flow Statement
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Statement of Current Monthly Income (only if individual)
  • Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Petition Preparer (only if one was used)
  • Disclosure statement of Attorney

 
Deficienct Filings and Notice of Possible Dismissal
Under the Filing Requirements for each chapter some documents are noted as "must be filed to initiate your bankruptcy filing".  These are the minimum requirements that must be filed in order to initiate a bankruptcy.  
 
If any of the documents listed under Filing Requirements are missing, the court will issue a deficiency notice listing the missing documents along with a proposed dismissal hearing should you fail to file the documents before the missing document due date.
 
Filing Fees
 
The filing fee for each chapter is due at the time of filing.  If youa re an individual and are unable to pay the full fee at the time of filing, you may file an Application to Pay Installments .  This does not apply to business debtors.  If you are a chapter 7 individual debtor, you also have the option to file an Application to Waive the Filing Fee.  Click here for current fee schedule. 
 
The United States Bankruptcy Court accepts cash, money orders, cashier's and traveller's checks.  Personal checks from the debtor, two party checks or post-dated checks will not be accepted.
 
Meeting of Creditors
 
The location, date and time of the meeting of creditors (341 Meeting) will be mailed to you and all creditors after your bankruptcy petitiion is filed.  Please read your notice carefully to determine the location, date and time of your 341 Metting.  Please note:  It is mandatory that you attend this meeting of creditors and any continuation of such meeting.  If you need to reschedule your 341 meeting, you must contact the trustee on your notice directly and not the bankruptcy court.
 
Official Forms and Petition Preparation
 
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office  does not supply the official forms required for filing bankruptcy.  You may purchase the forms from a local office supply store or download applicable forms.  Click here for the Official Bankruptcy Forms.  
 
If someone other than an attorney assists you with the preparation of the bankruptcy forms, you must disclose the name of the preparer on the petition.
 
 
Photo ID
 
You may be required to present photo identification when entering the courthouse and must provide a daytime phone number on your petition.  Photo identification is required at the Meeting of Creditors, along with verificaiton of your social security number.
 
 
Protecting Your Social Security Number
 
Effective December 1, 2003, individuals filing bankruptcy will place only the last four digits of their social security number on the bankruptcy petition.  Individuals are required to submit, with the bankruptcy petition, a separate Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form 21), in which their full Social Security Number is given.  This Statement is not part of the public record and will not be available to the public.  Click here for the Official Forms to locate Form B21.
 
 
Legal Advice and Resources
 
The Bankrutpcy Court Clerk's Office is not permitted to assit you with preparing your petition, schedules or other documents nor give you legal advice.  Your local library has law books that may be of assistance to you.   For more information on Bankruptcy, click here for Bankutpcy Basics.
 
 
The information contained in this brochure is intended to answer common questions from Pro Se debtors and is not  to be interpreted as legal advice. This information is subject to change without notice.
 
Myrna Atwater
Clerk of Court